Round 9 - Donington Park - MCE Insurance British Superbikes

MCE Insurance

It seems like only yesterday the season began but this weekend we reached Round 9 of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship: The Showdown Decider. Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, Alex Lowes and Josh Brookes had already secured their showdown spots at previous rounds but the remaining 3 spots were still up for grabs. James Ellison of Milwaukee Yamaha was poised to take his spot and needed a mere 7 points to secure his 4th position. Ryuichi Kiyonari on the Samsung Honda who has had a very mixed season, starting badly, improving in the mid season and now it seems he's on the downward slope again, needed a couple of decent results in case some of the riders below him gained enough points to push him out. Jon Kirkham on the Buildbase BMW held 6th spot but had teammate James Westmoreland on his tail. With only 5 points between the BMW riders, Kirkham needed to keep Westmoreland behind him and vice versa for James. Tommy Bridewell was another rider who could potentially have upset things with a couple of good results as long as he was ahead of the rest. Legend Chris Walker was the last rider with a chance of taking a spot, though it was an outside chance and he would have relied on the riders ahead of him on points having a nightmare. Either way the weekend was set to be a thriller and as always with MCE BSB, anything could happen!


Qualifying kicked off and surprise, surprise the times were dramatically close. From 1st to 20th there was only a 2 second gap between all the riders. Alex Lowes initially took the fastest time but it wasn't long before Tommy Bridewell on the Halsall Racing Kawasaki posted a stunning time taking the lead. There was a real scrap to get into Q2 as Mainwaring, Baiocco and Harris all battled to get that 18th spot, Mainwaring eventually made it through. Q2 kicked off but in no time and it was disaster for Pete Hickman on the GBmoto Honda and Keith Farmer on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki as they both crashed out before posting a time. Kiyonari who only just made it into Q2, his Samsung Honda engineers changed his entire front end in-between the sessions, it didn't help get him into Q1; he finished with the 12th fastest time. Q3 saw James Westmoreland come from nowhere and post the fastest ever lap, not even Lowes could match it and the BMW rider took his first ever pole.

Race 1

Out of the traps Westmoreland had trouble keeping the BMW's front end down and he dropped places from the off, most importantly to Kirkham who went past him into turn 1. Lowes had already taken the lead followed by Shakey, Brookes, Ellison and Bridewell. Brookes seemed to be struggling to keep the pace initially and Ellison flew by him, with Bridewell having a look as well, the Stalker was also stalking behind. Kiyo was having a nightmare, moving backwards more than forward, from starting in 12th he had dropped to 17th. At this point Westmoreland was well on the move, in a couple of laps he was past Kirkham and Smrz and into 7th. It wasn't long before he was past the Stalker as well, Kirkham was doing his best to keep up. Whilst Lowes, Shakey and Ellison were fighting at the front, Westy set the fastest lap of the weekend breaking yet another record and getting himself right on Bridewell's back wheel. Around mid race, Tinmouth, Poole and Baiocco all pulled into the pits with problems and Mainwaring broke down on the Dunlop straight. Then at the Foggy Esses it was disaster for Bridewell and his chances of a showdown spot when his engine failed, almost taking out Westy in the process. Kirkham made full use of this and was now in 6th behind his teammate meaning he would stay ahead in the standings. Kiyo had also changed up his game getting himself into 14th and back in the points. Alex Lowes took the win with Shakey and Ellison behind; they just couldn't find a way past the young title contender.

Race 1 Results

  1. Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda
  2. Shane BYRNE - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki
  3. James ELLISON - Milwaukee Yamaha
  4. Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki
  5. James WESTMORELAND - Buildbase BMW
  6. Jon KIRKHAM - Buildbase BMW
  7. Chris WALKER - Quattro Plant Kawasaki
  8. Jakub SMRZ - Padgetts Honda
  9. PJ JACOBSEN - Tyco Suzuki
  10. Barry BURRELL - Quattro Plant Kawasaki

Race 2

Westmoreland started from pole yet again with his lap time from the last race. Lowes did much the same as race 1 though and nicked the lead straight away followed by Shakey, Brookes, Ellison, Westy, Bridewell and Kirkham. The front 5 started to pull away with Westmoreland sticking to them like glue, he needed to finish at least 2 or 3 places ahead of Kirkham to secure enough points to take the showdown spot. Kirkham who sat in 7th started to drop away from Bridewell and had the Stalker on his tail. Brookes then seemed to have a real moment and let Ellison, Westy and Bridewell past him in just a few corners. At this point Ellison made a great pass on Shakey into the Foggy Esses taking second spot and charging towards Alex. Shakey tried to make amends but ran wide forcing Westy wide too and letting Bridewell slip through on the inside, an unusual mistake by the reigning champ. Ellison then put in a big move on Alex going into Foggys but couldn't get it stopped and ran straight on. They then lined up Lowes, Bridewell, Shakey, Westy, Brookes, Ellison and Kirkham. It wasn't long before Shakey was back past Bridwell and on Alex's tail once again. Westmoreland was in position to take the showdown spot if nothing changed, Brookes was having a go but just didn't have the pace to get by him. In the final lap Shakey passed Lowes but the young upstart was having none of it, he took back the lead and his fourth win on the trot.

Race 2 Results

  1. Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda
  2. Shane BYRNE - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki
  3. Tommy BRIDEWELL - Halsall Racing
  4. James WESTMORELAND - Buildbase BMW
  5. Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki
  6. James ELLISON - Milwaukee Yamaha
  7. Jon KIRKHAM - Buildbase BMW
  8. Chris WALKER - Quattro Plant Kawasaki
  9. PJ JACOBSEN - Tyco Suzuki
  10. Jakub SMRZ - Padgetts Honda

Club MCE members had a great couple of days at Donington Park enjoying all sorts of benefits and experiences including, Official Pit Crew with Milwaukee Yamaha, grid walks, VIP hospitality, Pillion Laps and Safety car laps to name a few. Some lucky Club members got to make use of the MCE Superview, watching the racing from pit lane. 'Hang out with a rider' took place outside the Tyco Suzuki garage with young American star PJ Jacobsen, giving club members the chance to ask him about what he thinks of England, who does the washing up at home and what his plans are for the future all whilst sitting on the comfy Club MCE beanbags. Club members also took to the track riding behind Big Ed during the On track ride getting a chance to see Donington from a rider's perspective. A lucky few Club members also got VIP hospitality with Pirelli giving them a look at what goes on behind the scenes with the tyres as well as getting a slap up meal. A fantastic weekend had by all!

Next round we head across the water to the TT circuit Assen for the first round of the showdown! Who's going to take the initial wins? We'll find out on the 22nd of September! Keep up to date with Big Ed's Facebook for all the live updates, news and gossip around the paddock.

Title fighters

  1. 67 Shane BYRNE - Rapid Soliticitors Kawasaki - 539
  2. 22 Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda - 533
  3. 2 Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki - 522
  4. 77 James ELLISON - Milwaukee Yamaha - 513
  5. 23 Ryuichi KIYONARI - Samsung Honda - 504
  6. 27 James WESTMORELAND - Buildbase BMW - 500

For full race results visit the MCE BSB Website

10.09.13 - Big Ed

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